Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rhubarb Kuchen or in Which I Divulge Buttery Rhubarb Secrets

I think this recipe needs no introduction, and it certainly is not worthy of "lightening" that's for sure. In any dessert, it's usually a given that I will reduce the amount of butter or eggs, but in this family recipe, it would be something I would never dream of.

I grew up in a family of rhubarb lovers, which I count as fortunate since now that I've aged, I realize that some people detest it's tangy, sour taste. As long as I can remember, my Parent's have had a patch of rhubarb. Every Spring, we would have Rhubarb Kuchen, a recipe that came from my Dad's Mom. It is still my Dad's favorite dessert, and an easy one to enjoy in seasons other than Spring, due to rhubarb's love affair with the freezer.

The rhubarb that is currently established on my Parent's 'farm' is from my Gram's patch in northern Wisconsin. I'm hoping to get a few off-shoots of their plants to establish my own little patch in what I'm hoping will soon be my new raised bed gardens in my back yard. It always amazes me that generations of plants can thrive. In our culture of bigger, better and new, I find it so comforting to know that I can glean nutrition from a plant that was first propagated maybe 50 years ago. That is amazing.

Not only does it scream out to be eaten with ice cream, it keeps well in the refrigerator for at least a week, if you don't find yourself nibbling at it each time you open the door. Make this in a 9x13 pan, and if you you find yourself in a non-rhubarb-loving household as I do, you can make yourself insanely popular and give some away. I'm not sure where my Grandmother got this recipe, but I know it was from my Dad's side. I'll have to see if I can track down the pedigree. That side of the family really doesn't have any German ancestry, but fortunately for me, this recipe landed in their hands! While I most always bake with unsalted butter, I always use salted for this Kuchen, since that it what my Mom used.

Rhubarb Kuchen

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 egg
Filling or Custard:
  • 6 cups rhubarb, not defrosted if frozen (I used closer to 7 cups)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a food pro, (you can do it by hand) pulse crust ingredients until they look like "coarse sand". Spread them into the 9x13 pan, and press into a crust. Then, spread the rhubarb over the crust, mix the custard ingredients together, and pour over the rhubarb. Finally, pulse the topping (no need to have washed the food pro first), and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 50-75 minutes until the topping is nicely browned. It will firm up a bit more as it cools.

You will no doubt find yourself with a spoon, testing out a corner of this dessert as soon as it makes it's way from the hot oven... but it is just as lovely at room temperature or cold. Just out of the fridge, it has a bright rhubarb flavor and full buttery-ness about it. I like to eat it for breakfast, so that it's calories can be burnt off through the course of the day. But, I'm not above having it just before lights out, either.


  1. I'm happy to vouch for this lovely, grandmother-worthy, buttery dessert -- which just about captures spring right there in a bowl. It was just perfect with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream... and I'm so happy you posted a recipe. It's totally worthy of a replay at our house!

  2. I'm so glad you think so! That means a lot coming from your accomplished palate!

  3. Like many things you make and write about, I would eat that entire thing. And yes, with ice cream. That looks incredibobble. I have a real thing for rhubarb. Just made a tart tonight. And jam yesterday. And the lineage is extra-special!

  4. I am making this; looks great. My rhubarb plant is sired? (at least it's Kentucky Derby time) from my husband's ninety-five-year-old grandpa's house. And it is still as spry as him.

  5. Julia, I was just thinking about jam... I made one that was super once with ginger and rhubarb - now to wade through the recipes to find it!

    Lindy, I so hope that you love it as much as I do, and it doesn't disappoint like the Guinness Pie! With 95 year old rhubarb, it's got to be terrific!!!

  6. Am celebrating the rhubarb right along with you.

  7. Holy cow, that looks amazing! I'm never quite sure what to do with rhubarb other than pie, but I know this one is going on the list!

  8. You know, I often try to "lighten" up recipes too, and I agree -- some recipes just should not and can not be messed with. Like this one. It really does look so buttery and rich. I bet it tastes amazing with that ice cream on top.

  9. Hi R,

    I've got a kuchen in the oven, I'll let you know how it comes out... I had to go out in the garden to pick some more rhubarb and I found an arrowhead!!!! I love how destiny works :)

    ps does the vegan stuff taste as good as it looks??

    E. in Maine

  10. E,
    Yes, the vegan stuff is awesome. I am brutally and to a fault with the honesty thing (which can be good and bad), and I have to say that I never thought that vegan stuff could be sooooo good. And RAW vegan, too! I really am glad I started my experiment, since I can now fully see why people get so excited about this diet.

    I am so happy that you found an arrowhead in your rhubarb! It reminds me of a bead my Gram found once in her garden as she turned it over one spring - a carved rose. She had turned that garden for 30 years before she found it... and then she gave it to me. Hope you love the dessert as well - I'll look forward to a full report!

  11. OMG!!!!! Is all I can say about the Kuchen, you are right it is buttery goodness!!! I cut down on the sugar in the filling, I use organic cane sugar so it was plenty sweet with less sugar. Our rhubarb is more green than red and I use farm eggs and the yolks are almost orange, so my filling was really brite in color... lol ... everyone was picking on it until they got into their mouths and they shut up pretty quickly!!!!
    I am thinking the kuchen would be good with a number of different the seasons come I will try peaches...wild blueberries...apples...yum, can't wait. :)

  12. my husband loves rhubarb, but he is also a diabetic. would this recipe work as well if I replaced some of the sugar with Splenda?

  13. I have never baked with Splenda, I suppose it could work? I hope you have good luck!

  14. Made this cake this Memorial weekend. It was assembled very quick...and I must say it tasted the 2nd day even better than the first. On the second day it was nice and moist and the flavor intensified. YUMMY - Its a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  15. This is very similar to my grandmother's recipe. I love rhubarb kuchen. The main difference is she used brown sugar in the topping.

  16. My co-worker gave me a bunch of rhubarb from her garden this week. I wanted to make something other than a strawberry-rhubarb pie... I'm so happy that I found your delicious recipe. It received complements from everyone that tried it.


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